Anthropology Courses & Textbooks

For anthropology courses, the pages and posts of Living Anthropologically can be integrated with traditional four-fields textbooks to create an Introduction to Anthropology. See also What is Anthropology?

Anthropology: What Does It Mean to Be Human?, Robert H. Lavenda and Emily A. Schultz

The third edition of Lavenda & Schultz, Anthropology: What Does it Mean to be Human? is my preferred textbook in four field Introduction to Anthropology courses. See Introduction to Anthropology 2017 and Introduction to Anthropology 2016 for my current selection of books and readings. I prefer this text because of its academic sophistication, manageable length, and reasonable price. I’ve also written a review of the 2nd edition and earlier links from the second edition to the sections on Biological Anthropology. For those who might have or use the first edition, I previously wrote 1st edition cross-referenced links.

Applying Anthropology, Podolefsky, Brown, and Lacy, editors.

Applying Anthropology continues to be the only four field reader for Introduction to Anthropology, and I’ve used it through the 10th edition. For those who are still using the 9th edition, or articles from it, please see the cross-references at Applying Anthropology 9th Edition.

Anthropology, Ember, Ember, and Peregrine.

Ember Anthropology has some of the best references, and in some places comes closest to the perspective of Living Anthropologically. Ember Anthropology also has some of the worst sections, along with some idiosyncracies.

Anthropology: The Human Challenge, Haviland, Prins, Walrath, McBride

Haviland is a conceptual favorite for treatment of evolution, human nature, and race. However, this is a very long, encyclopedic, and very expensive textbook. Moreover, the Haviland series seems to occasion vitriol as “preachy liberal anthropologists.”

Essence of Anthropology 3rd Edition, Haviland, Prins, Walrath, McBride

The condensed Haviland Essence of Anthropology could be an ideal four-field textbook, shorter than the encyclopedic Haviland. However, it’s difficult to find this textbook for less than $90, making it more expensive than some of the comprehensive textbooks.

Anthropology: Appreciating Human Diversity, Conrad Kottak

Kottak’s textbook is usually dependable and includes contemporary references. The 14th Edition of the four-field Anthropology: Appreciating Human Diversity seems to show signs of wear, as shuffling chapters and inserting pop culture references has its limits.

Window on Humanity 5th Edition, Conrad Kottak

Window on Humanity is the condensed version of Kottak’s Anthropology: Appreciating Human Diversity. As of 2012-2013, this condensed version is more updated than the comprehensive textbook, much easier to read, and less expensive. However, this version is still expensive, with no color photographs.

Anthropology, Barbara Miller

Barbara Miller’s four-field anthropology textbook went into second edition for 2008, but there have not been more updates. Miller may be headed back to cultural anthropology textbooks. This textbook has some very interesting sections but is uneven.

Introducing Anthropology, Michael Alan Park

Park’s 5th Edition of Introducing Anthropology has a well-written conversational style. For a four-field text it is short and relatively inexpensive. However, this textbook comes close to biological determinism, or portraying culture as an overlay on biology. It also shows little updating for the 5th edition.

Anthropology: A Global Perspective, Scupin and DeCorse

The 7th Edition of Scupin and DeCorse is a major upgrade from previous editions. The authors have admirable four-field experience and a particularly strong focus on political economy–they see themselves working in the tradition of Eric Wolf. There are some troubling references to human universals and evolutionary psychology. The text is still relatively expensive, but it is worth considering.